The Problem: You’re the supervisor of a 10-person work team. One morning Geraldine comes to tell you that a few minutes ago she and Frank were discussing one of their projects when Sam came in and told them to check out their Facebook pages. They did, and all found some pictures of themselves (as well as other colleagues) from a party the previous weekend. One of the pictures showed Geraldine from an angle that almost looks up her skirt, with Frank appearing to look down her blouse. Both men laughed, and complimented Geraldine on her legs. She left, and came directly to you to tell you what had happened. She said she feels violated and angry with both Frank and Sam, as well as with the person who first posted the pictures. She doesn’t know what to do.
What to do? First of all, let’s be clear: because these are all work colleagues, and they are showing Geraldine this picture at work, it is work-related even though it’s on personal Facebook pages and it’s a picture from a non-work party. Generally speaking, visiting Facebook at work is not a good idea. Posting an inappropriate picture of a colleague – even on a non-work site and a non-work setting – is highly inappropriate and could be sexual harassment. You, as the supervisor, need to be very clear with Sam and Frank that their behavior is unacceptable and needs to stop. Tell them to delete this picture from their Facebook pages, and to stop showing it to anyone or passing it on. And, remind Geraldine that she should be careful about who takes her pictures! Electronic media blurs the line between work and non-work. But, when it involves colleagues, even in a non-work setting, it can have workplace repercussions. ~ DS